Royalty has its privileges, even when you're thirty-fourth in line to the throne, as Lady Georgiana Rannoch discovers on the glamorous - and dangerous - French Riviera . . .
Why should my clueless brother, Binky, and his decidedly disagreeable wife, Fig, be the only ones to enjoy the fun and sun of the French Riviera? Thankfully, Her Majesty the Queen has once again come to my rescue. She is sending me off to Nice with a secret assignment - recover her priceless, stolen snuff box from the disreputable Sir Toby Groper.
Her Majesty's trust is an honour, but an even greater honour is bestowed upon me in Nice - none other than Coco Chanel herself asks me to model her latest fashion. Unfortunately, things go disastrously wrong on the catwalk and before I can snatch the snuff box, someone's life is snuffed out in a very dastardly way. With a murderer on the loose - and my dearest Darcy seen in the company of another woman - how's a girl to find any time to go to the casino?
Fans of Peter Lovesey's hilarious books transforming the future Edward VII into an unlikely sleuth will relish Bowen's whimsical fifth Royal Spyness mystery starring Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 34th in line to the British throne (after 2010's Royal Blood). In 1933, the destitute Rannoch, who's been helping out at a London soup kitchen, welcomes the chance to escape to the French Riviera after the queen offers to finance her trip there to recover a snuff box stolen by an odious bounder, the aptly named Sir Toby Groper. On a French train, the self-effacing Rannoch meets legendary designer Coco Chanel, who, to her astonishment, asks her to model a new line of clothing. In between this opportunity and her looking into suspicious doings by her love interest, Darcy O'Mara, Rannoch finds herself smack in the middle of a murder inquiry. Bowen successfully melds a whodunit with comedy as few contemporary writers can.